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How Long Does Office 365 Keep Deleted Emails – Explained

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On October 16th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading

How long does Office 365 keep deleted emails is a question that appears to be causing a lot of uncertainty these days. MS Office, on the other hand, keeps your data until you remove it on purpose or by accident. The Office 365 retention policy establishes the maximum amount of time data can be kept in the mailbox. When it reaches the maturity level or the directed retention age, action is required. When a message reaches the end of its retention period, it is either archived or destroyed.

Organizations and multinational corporations (MNCs) confront the problem of large and complex data as they expand. In MS Office 365, this leads to data loss or certain deletions. I’ll answer the question, of how long does Office 365 keep deleted email accounts in this article. But, before we get into any of the questions, let’s have a look at how long does office 365 keep emails.

Table Of Content

How Long Do Deleted Emails Stay in Office 365? 

Microsoft Office 365’s Exchange Server hosting has just modified. This modification in Office 365 hosting allows users to preserve deleted things indefinitely. It also makes defining the deleted items retention policy in MRM (Messaging Records Management) easier. Users can control how long does Office 365 keep deleted emails? with this option. Users of Microsoft Office 365 now have the same choice as On-premises Exchange Administrators, allowing them to increase their retention time from 30 to 24855.

How Long Does Office 365 Keep Deleted Emails Accounts?

In Office 365, when you delete an email message, it is automatically saved in the Deleted Item folder. In Office 365, you can choose between keeping those items in the Deleted Items folder or having OWA erase the email messages in the Deleted Items folder and move them to Hidden Deleted Items.

Within 30 days following deletion, communications held in Hidden Deleted Items storage can be recover. If the emails and other materials are not recovered during the retention period, they will be permanently lost. This answers the question, how long do deleted emails stay in office 365 that many users have.

How Does the Deleted Items Folder Become Empty by Itself in Outlook?

Users must select the automatic emptying option if they want the Deleted Items Folder to be automatically empty every time they log out. Simply follow the steps below:

  • Select Settings icon > Settings > Mail > Message options in Outlook Web Apps.
  • Then, when sign out, select the option to Empty the Deleted Items folder.

How do I Implement the Office 365 Email Retention Policy?

Microsoft offers a retention policy to solve the query of how long does Office 365 keep deleted Emails query. This policy specifies the different options to retain the deleted data in a particular time period. It consists of 1 week’s Delete, 1 Month’s Delete, or many more options to go with. You can pick the right one as per your choice.

  • Default Retention Policy

Some of the folders such as Inbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items, Drafts, and Junk Email folders have predefined retention tags that cannot be modified or managed by the users. 

  • Manage Retention Policy

There are some retention policies that are created by the administrators. You can access all the previously created retention policies by Outlook Web Apps. There you find the retention period and retention action with the retention policy.  In the continuity of solving how long does Office 365 keep deleted emails let’s explore the creation of a retention policy.

Using Office 365 Administrator credentials, complete the following steps to create a retention policy:

  • To begin, go to the menu and select the Admin option.
  • Select the Security & Compliance option from the Reports category.
  • After that, select Exchange Admin Center from the drop-down menu.
  • Simply go to compliance management, pick retention policies, and then click the () option.
  • After that, give the policy a name and use the () option to add tags.
  • Using the Add button, you can now select several retention tags and then click OK.
  • Then, press the Save button.
  • Create a new retention policy after completing the preceding steps.

Important Concepts for Keeping Deleted Emails in Office 365

  1. A Retention Policy assign to each mailbox in an Office 365 account.
  2. After two years, Office 365’s Default Retention Policy includes a tag that moves data items to the archive mailbox.
  3. When you apply a Retention Policy to an Office 365 mailbox, it also applies to the online archive mailbox.
  4. The Office 365 retention time duration task is a weekly job that runs every day. It means that emails can keep for up to 7 days after they have expired.
  5. The scheduled task does not process any mailbox that is less than 10 MB in size. Unless you actively start the job, the Office 365 Retention Policy does not apply to it.

What Should You Do If Your Retention Policy Has Expired?

You’ve probably already read about what a retention policy is, how it works, and why it formed, as well as how long does Microsoft keep deleted emails. You should also be aware that retention policies only work for a set period of time and do not save a copy of the data after that. If you’re using Office 365 and your retention policy has run out, the data you’ve deleted will lost forever. To deal with such a circumstance, you can use Data Help Office 365 Backup Tool to build a backup of Office 365 data items. Because this is the only option that will allow you to retrieve your critical data after the retention term has expired.

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  • Able to Download Office 365 Outlook Mailboxes in bulk.
  • Also, download the data of shared mailboxes.
  • It supports the backup of In-Place Archive Office 365 mailboxes.
  • Provides support for Concurrent Microsoft 365 Backup to speed up the process.
  • Maintains integrity throughout the process.

Steps to Backup the Office 365 Data Efficiently

1. Download and Install the tool, Select Office 365 as the Source and Outlook as the destination.

enter source and destination users

2. Select the items under the workload section to backup.

workload screen

3. Apply the Date Range Filter to perform the date-based data selection and Next.


4. Enter the required credentials in the Source window then validate and Next.

provide details

5. Complete the details in the destination window such as file location and size and after validation hit Next.

destination validation

6. Load the users in the tool using the Fetch Users, Import Users, and Download Templates option.


7. Now after validating the users, Click on Start Backup.

Validation Completed


We’ve covered everything you need to know about retention policies and how long does Outlook 365 keep deleted emails in this article. We also spoke about what occurs when someone deletes a message and how the process works. However, as all Office 365 customers are aware, there is no guarantee that your data will be safe, thus it’s recommended that you keep a backup copy of your data on your computer.

Also Read: How to Archive Emails in Outlook 365 to Local Drive?